I was trying to create some clever and insightful digital artefacts but got side tracked by cake! Maybe tomorrow…….
Today I watched another of the videos for week 2 of the #edcm course. It was called Plurality and depicted a society (2023) where we were monitored through our DNA. It was George Orwell’s 1984 all over again except with more modern technology.
It is a little frightening because I can see a world like this existing. Perhaps not in my time but not that far off. It might seem unlikely but I imagine ipads, mobile phones, ATMs and grocery home delivery would have been unimaginable to our grandparents when they were young.
The course asked us the following question: To what extent do you think Plurality’s depictions of the impact of surveillance technologies are relevant to social and educational practices today? I think they are extremely relevant as people are concerned about privacy and the amount of time they feel they are under surveillance.
This article on the BBC shows how concerned we are. There are generally two sides to this. The “if you haven’t got anything to hide what’s to worry about” brigade and the other side where individuals feel that we have the right to go about our daily lives without being watched. There are also concerns about what happens to all the information that is gathered. I am not sure where I stand. I sort of agree with both sides. I don’t want to see the levels of surveillance we see in Plurality but I also see the benefits of monitoring and surveillance (crime prevention, sense of security etc) However the important thing is to keep the debate alive as this will be the way that we prevent society from reaching the surveillance levels seen in Plurality. Human rights activists are sometimes seen in the UK as “whingers” with nothing better to do. But we always need both sides of an argument to be heard so that a balance is maintained.
I was amazed when I recently joined the world of education and started working in an Academy. We have access to all sorts of data, attendance, rate of progress, current results etc. Education seems to have become very data focused. I can imagine one day having a central record on each of us which contains information on every aspect of our lives. Again, I sit on the fence on this. Like surveillance I don’t have a major problem with it in theory. My biggest concern with surveillance and monitoring is the intention behind it. If they are good then fine but if not………. This leads to other questions though. Who decides what the purpose of collation is and who decides what are good intentions and bad intentions.
Ultimately I think that society will deal with these issues as we as a society and technology evolve. Just as long as we can keeping talking, uncovering and debating.
What do a Personal Assistant, a teacher, a lecturer and employee of the Department of defence have in common? We all live in different countries and time zones, but we are working together to moderate a Twitterchat for a MOOC that is being taken by 40,000 people from around the world. Technology allows us to do many amazing things these days and brings the world to you.
I remember the days when the only way I could stay in touch with my family in Germany was to write (although not often when I was a teenager) or call (restricted by finances). Now I can connect with friends and contacts from around the world instantly (unless the time zone means they are asleep), for free (not including the cost of broadband), frequently and at my convenience.
It does make me think how we managed before. As a teenager I would often meet friends in town to go shopping. If one of us was late or unable to come we had no way of informing each other at short notice. The others, waiting at the meeting point, would just wait an acceptable amount of time and leave. i couldn’t imagine not being able to let someone know about a last minute change of plans. Makes me a bit twitchy to be honest!
Are we slaves to technology or is technology our slave? I think it’s all dependent on us. If we manage technology and know when to switch off, and not use it for the sake of it, technology is utophic. If you don’t manage it properly dystopia will ensue.
Remember there is a real world out there to explore so make sure you step out once in a while (and don’t forget to Tweet about it, add photos of the outing to Facebook and blog about it when you get back!)